(Bloomberg) -- British and European Union officials will meet Wednesday to discuss post-Brexit plans to slap a tariff on electric vehicles from the UK, as a deadline on whether to delay the move nears.
EV rules of origin, which are due to be phased in for trade between Britain and the bloc and have become key area of contention in the ongoing relationship, are on the agenda for a half-day meeting of the UK-EU Trade Specialised Committee.
At stake is whether EVs traded between the UK and the EU will attract a 10% tariff from next year if less than 45% of their value comes from the region, as stipulated under the post-Brexit Trade and Cooperation Agreement. The industry has said the move could cost the sector 4.3 billion euros ($4.6 billion) and benefit Chinese competitors.
“Representation has been made and continues to be made because we know the deadline is coming up but I am optimistic that the right decision will be taken,” UK Industry Minister Nus Ghani said in an interview with Bloomberg late Monday.
Electric vehicles have become a major focal point of global trade tensions in recent weeks. The UK’s hope that the EU will opt to delay the introduction of tariffs is partly driven by the EU’s decision to open a review of the impact of Chinese cars imports into the EU market, Ghani said.
UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and European carmakers want to extend the planned phase-in period by three years, allowing more time for the region’s battery supply chain to develop. Sunak has enrolled German Chancellor Olaf Scholz to help delay the tariffs, Bloomberg reported in July.
But so far, EU officials and member states have been split over the matter, even after diplomats discussed the issue Monday, a person familiar with the discussion said.
--With assistance from Ellen Milligan and Jorge Valero.
(Updates with Ghani comment in fourth paragraph.)
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